COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The City of Colorado Springs recently acquired Fishers Canyon Open Space. Now, the city is working to turn the 343-acre open space into something suitable and safe for public access.
According to the city, work and mitigation for Fishers Canyon began in December. The future trail system and outdoor recreation area will connect to Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
Once completed, the open space will be accessible to the Austin Bluffs and Cheyenne Mountain communities.
"Within the Cheyenne Mountain area there's a shortage of public access properties and open spaces," Senior Landscape Architect David Deitemeyer said. "So this provides an opportunity to serve not only the neighbors in Cheyenne mountain. But also our entire community with the open space. It provides for additional value and opportunity for the residents to get out and experience the natural resources and really creates that sense of place in Colorado Springs that our residents really love."
Currently, there are no designated trails or official public access to Fishers Canyon Open Space. The area only has two steep trails that are at about an 80-degree incline among uncontrolled terrain and dense trees. The mitigation will thin out the trees to minimize fire risk and create a trail system.
"We are making a forest that is more resilient to high severity fire," Cory Ashby said with the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Next year a master plan will be developed so the community can add their insight into what exactly they want the space to offer. This is the largest project so far to benefit from ballet issue 2D, which passed in the November 2021 election. Which gave the city of Colorado Springs funds for fire mitigation projects.
"One of the largest things about this property that we're excited about is the connectivity of the Chamberland trail," Deitemeyer said. "The Chamberland trail is a 26-mile master planned natural surface trail across the foothills of Colorado Springs. This property was key in providing that connectivity between the Broadmoore Bluffs neighborhood and Cheyenne Mountain State Park to north Cheyenne Canyon park."
The Fishers Canyon project will get $506,000 of the total $20 million. As well as $100,000 from the trails, open space, and parks sales tax program. Plus, $30,000 from Colorado Springs Utilities.
The work began on Dec. 6 and will go through the end of February. The city is planning to allow public access by early 2024.
The space will strictly be used for outdoor day use. However, because Fishers Canyon connects to Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which offers camping, it could potentially serve as a trail connector to the state park, expanding the options in the area.